If only it’s possible to get a heavily-detailed manual upon the birth of our kids, parenting would be a piece of cake. However, each child and household is different, and there are a lot of factors that affect how effective your parenting style is. In order to raise a well-behaved and happy child, we need to create the best environment for them to grow in.
However, there is no specific and magical place where you can raise your child to be the perfect individual. In fact, it is our duty to make any type of environment the ideal setting in guiding and disciplining our kids. It doesn’t matter if they are at Disney World or if they are just at home. We always have to be on the lookout for instances where we can apply proper parenting methods.
This source has mentioned how strollers are useful in keeping kids safe and disciplined in a crowded park such as Disneyland. But what happens if your child is old enough not to use a stroller? You have to be prepared when you can’t depend on another object to restrict your child’s unruly behaviors.
You may not be aware of it, but you are doing a specific style of parenting. If not, it might be a mixture of different types. It’s not easy to identify if you are raising your child correctly, and oftentimes, we’ll only realize our mistakes when they exhibit certain behaviors. So what is the ideal parenting style to raise a child properly?
Firm or Positive Parenting?
A study in 2018 compared two parenting styles, which are positive and behavioral parenting. According to them, these parenting styles are what parents have been using throughout the years. Which style do you use?
Behavioral parenting is what we can describe as a firm style of disciplining a child. It uses power assertion to control a child’s behavior. This means using disciplinary methods in a consistent and forceful manner to build a child’s character. If you are using forceful commands, withdrawal of privileges, and physical restraint, then you are doing behavioral parenting.
If you are a firm parent, chances are it’s hard for you to see the shortcomings of your methods. As an authoritarian, you insist on inflicting a punishment if your child did not obey your rules. However, your child wouldn’t understand why they were punished because the explanation behind your method is only because you’re the authority. This leads to an environment that isn’t nurturing unless your child has met your demands and expectations.
Sure, your child would stand out because he/she is well-behaved, but he/she lacks validation, which can lead to losing confidence. At the same time, he/she would have a hard time being independent because he/she needs someone to control him/her. If you don’t trust your child to make his/her own decisions, you are also teaching him/her codependence. Firm parenting is sometimes necessary to keep your child safe but know the negatives as well.
On the other hand, positive parenting is less restrictive. Instead, you are setting your child to succeed in achieving your behavioral expectations. You spend most of your time explaining the do’s and don’ts while also being open about your child’s reasons and opinions. Therefore, there are no punishments set because you’re finding compromises and preventing the negative behavior from happening beforehand.
You’re still setting boundaries and rules, but you are also explaining the reasons behind them while maintaining an open communication between you and your child. Think of this parenting style as positive reinforcement. As a result, the child is better in self-regulation and is not as codependent in making his/her own decisions.
However, don’t confuse positive parenting with being too permissive. Yes, your child might be independent, but too much of it leads to lacking obedience and discipline. It’s important to empathize with your child, but you still have to establish yourself as a parent.
What’s the Best Way to Raise a Child?
The best environment to raise a child is where the balance between the two parenting techniques above is established. In real life, it’s impossible to adhere to a specific style and expect that your child will have the best behavior. Parenting should be consistent and balanced regardless of the place.
For example, if your child is prone to whining, refusing, or even negotiating with you when it comes to following rules, the best way to approach it is by offering alternatives. If you decide to be firm instead and punish him/her without any explanations, you’re just causing him/her to be more hard-headed. However, if your child is showing behaviors like tantrums and physical objections such as hitting, you’ll need to be more firm and assertive.
The main point here is that your response should depend on your child’s behavior. Positive approach is appropriate for most behavioral expectations. However, you still need to be assertive to raise a well-mannered child.
If you notice that your child is challenging you or loves pushing limits, assertive parenting is the better approach. At the same time, you should still keep an open communication to explain why such behaviors aren’t appropriate. It is also a good way to act as a role model to teach your child what is correct.
A study at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania found out that one of the best parenting methods is simply allowing open communication between you and your child. This is because the parent is helping the child develop and improve this essential skill to succeed in life.
Science isn’t necessary to explain why good communication skills are essential in life. Without it, it’ll be hard to develop self-esteem and achieve healthy relationships. An individual who is good at communicating can negotiate better as opposed to growing up in a household where you’re not allowed to express your opinions.
Overall, find the balance between being firm yet empathetic. There is no specific style that you should just adhere to. Each child is unique, and different behaviors require a particular approach of parenting. The best place to raise a child is a home where discipline and open communication comes hand in hand.